Our Identity Part 1: The Cerebra Mission Statement and Manifesto (or who we are and why we exist)

Mike Stopforth Submitted by on the 29th of August 2012

A few weeks back members of the management team at Cerebra got together to discuss how we could better integrate two particular departments within the business. What started as a simple discussion about a business process resulted in some extremely constructive debate and discussion around how we position our company to staff, stakeholders, clients and the market in general.

We realised that our communication and marketing collateral did not completely encompass who we are, why we exist, exactly what we do and how we go about doing it. I am confident that we can now answer those questions and in this three-part series will aim to do just that. In this particular post I want to tell you more about our mission statement (who we are) and our manifesto (why we exist – the declaration of what we believe).

Our mission statement goes as follows:

Cerebra is an integrated strategic communication agency that builds, engages and activates communities around brands.

We are community. We get how communities start and how they grow and thrive better than anyone else in the business, and we’ve proven this through numerous successful long-term engagements with many of SA’s leading brands.

We’ll explain in a later post more about the building, engaging and activating part but before we get there, let us introduce you to the “why” part – or our Cerebra manifesto. It goes like this:

You have a problem. The problem is that you’ve invested enormous amounts of money building your company’s brand over years – even decades – only to realise that you don’t own that brand at all.

A brand is not the same thing as a logo – a logo is your corporate identity. A brand is the collection of thoughts, associations, emotions and stories people feel, tell, and share around your logo. No two customers will feel the same thing or tell the same story about your company.

In the past this wasn’t a major priority because consumers didn’t have the digital soapbox from which to broadcast their feelings and opinions (positive or negative) with such exponential reach. Today’s social web provides them with a platform to reach thousands in a matter of seconds – and the health and wealth of your brand depends on the unpredictable reaction of that crowd.

As such, you no longer have the luxury of being able to talk at your communities (be they customers, employees, stakeholders or the general public) – you now have to engage with them.

As much as your world has changed, so has that of your customer. They are rapidly evolving from passive consumers to active prosumers – simultaneous producers and consumers of valuable content. As they produce and share content they also build their own brands. These “ordinary” people are achieving extraordinary levels of influence both online and offline, becoming citizen journalists, directors, actors, rock stars, photographers and more in the process. Their influence has the power to alter your brand perception and ultimately, affect your profitability.

Your focus must be on building communities, not treating customers as numbers or targets but rather potential partners and participants in your business. It’s harder than ever to differentiate on price, product or positioning – today you need to learn to differentiate on personality and the value of your relationships with your communities.